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Pesticide risks to bee decline identified - Friends of the Earth reaction

16 January 2013
by foeeurope -- last modified 16 January 2013

Reacting to news today [Wednesday 16 January 2013] that European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) scientists have identified a number of risks posed to bees by three neonicotinoid insecticides, Friends of the Earth’s Executive Director Andy Atkins said:


"The clear link between neonicotinoid pesticides and declining bee health must sting the Government into action – we can’t afford to dither when it comes to protecting these key pollinators.

"Ministers must urgently remove these dangerous chemicals from sale, overhaul inadequate pesticide safety tests and ensure farmers have access to safe, effective alternatives to enable them to produce food without harming our bees.

"Tens of thousands of people are backing our call for a National Bee Action Plan – it's time the Government listened."


The European Food Safety Authority (EFSA) carried out a risk assessment for honey bees for the active ingredients of three neonicotinoid pesticides, imidacloprid (first approved for UK use in 1993), thiamethoxam (2006), and clothianidin (2002) and concluded that use of all three is unacceptable on crops attractive to honey bees, including oil seed rape. The assessments were carried out in association with scientists from EU Member States.
EFSA highlighted numerous gaps in data about the safety of all three chemical treatments and that as limited information was available for pollinating insects other than honey bees, their risk assessment was only for the threat posed to honey bees, not other bees and pollinators. This further underlines the admission in 2012 by the UK Government that the way chemicals are tested is not robust because products are only tested on honey bees, and not wild bumble and solitary bees.

Friends of the Earth's The Bee Cause campaign is supporting individuals to make change in their gardens and communities to help bees, and asking the Prime Minister to commit to a National Bee Action Plan.

Friends of the Earth Europe is the largest grassroots environmental network in Europe, uniting 30 national organisations with thousands of local groups.

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